So, you’re probably wondering what it’s like to be a mature student; will I make friends? Will I get along with my flat mates who might be younger than me? Will I enjoy nights out? One of the things I was concerned about before I arrived was starting university later than most people. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can have the exact same experience as younger students (especially during Freshers!) if you want to.
Before I started Leeds Beckett, I lived down south on my own working in various bars and coffee shops. However I knew I always wanted to work within the music/events industry. I decided to come to university as I really wanted a change from the life I was living. I was interested in university not just to have the ‘uni experience’ and to achieve my career goals but to also experience an entirely new city and to make a fresh start.
Even though I didn’t have any experience in events I gained a lot of transferable skills through 3 years of full-time work. I learned valuable leadership skills, I learned a lot about myself and most importantly how to work in a team, which is important for most courses at university. So, if you are worried about not having experience in your chosen course, I’m here to put your mind at ease, you don’t need to worry. Starting university was the best decision I have ever made, starting later actually allows your maturity and life experience to you help you through university!
Moving into my student accommodation was slightly daunting. Two of my flat mates were 18 and one was 19 and so there was a slight age gap. However, this wasn’t an issue and we quickly bonded after a shopping trip for the essentials and a bite to eat at the best Spoons in Leeds: Hedley Verity. Living in student accommodation was definitely beneficial for me. The first two weeks of Freshers was brilliant as literally everyone talks to you. I made a lot of friends in this time which meant I wasn’t just restricted to speaking to/going out with my flat mates. My flat mates did go to almost every fresher event, however I managed to make a few friends who were older and fancied something different; none the less, Freshers was great, and I’ll never forget it.
I promised myself that I would join at least one society at university and there were so many to choose from. Walking around the sports hall at the Freshers Fair I wanted to join almost every one of them. However, being interested in music and DJing I thought it would be good to join the DJ society. I also joined the Thai boxing society as I was feeling daring and I have to say, everyone does such a good job in making you feel welcome! Attending socials really gave me a chance to get to know other students from the university, which allowed me to meet people my own age. I’m now half way into my second year and some of these people I met at society socials are now my closest friends. Even if you feel like there won’t be something for you there most likely will be. You will also have the opportunity to start up your own society around an interest you have.
Being a mature student has its perks
There are many advantages to being a mature student in Leeds. First of all, there are hundreds of job opportunities within the city. When I first started studying I found it difficult to find a part time job which was relevant to my course. However, I found that having more experience and being mature can be a big benefit for your potential employer and I have managed to get work in various places across the city. Having life experience meant that I already had many transferrable skills to get different types of part time work, so if you do too, make sure you use them!
Secondly, I have found that being older is helping me complete my coursework and giving me much better organisational skills than most people on my course. I feel like I have been able to focus more, learn how to enjoy completing course work and engage in all my modules. I think this is because I am not just at University for the ‘uni experience’ – I am here for everything, but most importantly to get my degree which eventually will lead to my dream job as an Event Manager. Being a mature student will enable you to utilize your time wisely and focus on what is important.
Enjoying Leeds city nightlife
As Leeds is home to thousands of students, you can expect to see the typical student themed nights being promoted every day of the week. However, if those nights aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of other options for you. Leeds is a beautiful, vibrant city that is home to some of the quirkiest pubs, bars and venues I have ever been to where I found more people my age. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Old Red Bus Station - if you like underground dance music such as techno, trance, dnb, garage and funky house, this venue is perfect. It is a pop-up venue that has just had its license extended for another 5 years! This venue hosts art exhibitions as well as being home to a delicious vegan cantina.
- Neon Cactus - this bar is incredible. From soul to jazz to house, this place offers an escape from the typical student drinking bars. They offer delicious non - alcoholic drinks for the non drinkers (like myself), as well as giving out plenty of free tequila if you’re feeling brave.
- Oporto - this bar is located just a few doors down from Neon Cactus, down Call Lane. If you like alternative indie and rock music this place is perfect for you. Sometimes I like to grab a coffee there and complete my uni work as not many students go here and they have a lovely outdoor seating area now (when the weather is nice)!
There are plenty more venues and bars that cater for older students and there are some wonderful hidden gems in Leeds, these are just some that I have found!